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Desire: The Dining Club: Part One

Desire - Marina Anderson 1-1/2 stars.

This review also appears on Steamy Guys After Dark.

I'm not sure what to say about this story. I'll start with what I like--the cover is absolutely beautiful. I love it and definitely want to know what's behind that door.

I'm not sure if I'm glad I did find out.

Grace, a young, up-and-coming theater director, has been dating David for six months. Even though she's not totally sure if it's love (or even if they're exclusive), she definitely smitten:
...he was the most attractive, charismatic and charming man she'd ever been in a relationship with. He was also an incredible lover, easily the most thoughtful and attentive one she'd ever had. Her pleasure always came first, and unlike other men who'd been in her life and bed, he never left her unfulfilled while he satisfied himself.

After a tryst in which David is a little more rough than usual, he tells her he'd like to take her away for the weekend to a club that is managed by his friend, Andrew. Once they get to the beautiful location, David asks her:
"I'm so pleased you decided to come. I wonder, would you do anything for me, Gracie? Anything I asked?

After they've been there a little while, David explains what the true purpose of the weekend is.
"This club isn't really a dining club. It's a club for people with specialized sexual needs and desires. They come here so that they can enjoy themselves safe in the knowledge that they're surrounded by like-minded people."


"Tonight you and I will sit at table one. If the evening goes well, and you want to come back next month, we'll sit at table two."


"Everyone gets pleasure from the dining trials. Sometimes people fail, or choose to stop something one evening, and then of course they're free to go. They can't come back to the Dining Club, there is only ever one chance to succeed at all the levels, but I promise you that women can get more pleasure here than they have ever imagined in their wildest dreams."

So. The idea for this story is very intriguing, yes? I definitely think so. It's the characters that I don't like.

David is manipulative and rude. He tells Grace that if she isn't successful here at the Dining Club that there is no future for them, but he doesn't promise that there's a future for them if she does. He doesn't tell her that he loves her, just that he could if she enjoys herself here.

From the moment David mentions taking her away for the weekend, Grace becomes a seriously annoying petulant child. Her whining about the requirements and what type of club it is take up half of this novella. Honestly, if I were David, I would have told her nevermind.
"You'll find out when we get there, but it's not a long way to travel. Better take a couple of evening dresses though, they've got a very strict dress code for the dining room."

Grace looked at him in genuine horror. "Evening dresses? I don't possess an evening dress of any kind! I've got some very smart trousers and tops, but..."

"Sorry, but it's evening dresses for the women, suits and ties for the men."

"Well," muttered Grace as she left the apartment and followed her lover to his car, "I hope it's worth all this fuss and money."

"It will definitely be worth it," David assured her, closing the passenger door behind her and walking round to the driver's seat. "If you like it as much as I hope you will, we'll go there again, so the money you spend on dresses won't be wasted."

Add the overuse of exclamation marks(!) and some gross words, like channel, and I'm not sure why I'm going to keep reading.

Desire is a very short novella--only 34 pages. I'm curious enough about the upcoming trials to keep going, but I'm not expecting anything amazing. I'll let ya'll know.